Apple Announces iOS 6, Releases SDK for Developers
Apple announced the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, today on the opening day of its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.
Apple said in a press release that iOS 6 will be available this Fall as a "free software update", and includes more than 200 new features. Some of the goodies include support for Siri, the voice assistant, on new (third-generation) iPads; a new maps app with vector-based elements and visual and spoken turn-by-turn navigation; tighter Facebook integration; and FaceTime over cell networks (it currently works only over Wi-Fi).
To get developers working on new or updated apps as quickly as possible, Apple also released a beta of the iOS 6 SDK. Some of the tools in the SDK include the Xcode IDE, a user interface (UI) builder and an iOS simulator (both iPhone and iPad) for use on a Mac. The developer program is $99 per year.
iOS 6 will work across a range of devices including iPhones as far back as 3GS, the new iPad, the iPad 2 and fourth-generation iPod touch.
Apple also revealed that the number of available apps in its App Store has reached 650,000, and there have been about 30 billion total downloads since its inception. Numbers like those are a primary reason that mobile app analyst firm Flurry says that about seven of every 10 apps created are built for iOS, with Android getting the lion's share of the leftovers.
Another contributing factor, according to Flurry, is that iPhone apps tend to make more for their developers -- a lot more. For every dollar made on iOS, developers make, on average, 24 cents. And although Android has huge marketshare when it comes to smartphones, the iPad rules the tablet space.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.